What Was I Thinking?

UFCPT Training Diary – Day 5

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5th day of the programme and a whole bunch of new exercises. Thankfully it was a short workout today.

Despite undereating, I’m convinced I’m getting fatter. The scales say I’m not gaining any weight but I’m sure I’m… jiggling more. Maybe I’m losing visceral fat faster than subcutaneous fat?

Maybe I’m just slowly going crazy.

Written by Weefz

14 July, 2011 at 10:42 am

UFCPT Training Diary – Day 3

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Another day, another workout diary. I’m pretty sure that I’m getting stronger. I actually managed some almost-real press-ups today. Those are the ones where, not only am I on my toes instead of my knees, my chest hits the ground at the same time as my thighs.

Almost.

In reality, I’m still sagging in the middle so my thighs collapse onto the mat half a second before my arms give way.

Here’s today’s video. Tomorrow is my first scheduled rest day. Whether or not I’ll do a video depends on how much pain I’m in and whether I feel like complaining about it.

Food log here! Jeez, that’s worse than I thought – only 1500 calories when I’m supposed to be getting at least 2300? Better starting putting butter in my protein shakes or something.

On the brewing injuries… I spent about 8 months doing proper weight-lifting in 2009-10, hence all the links to StrongLifts.com in previous posts. (Yes, you wouldn’t know it from meeting me… this is my AFTER size, put it that way.) Thankfully, I never had a major injury but I had minor tears in a couple of muscles so I’m very aware of the difference between normal muscle burn and something more severe. Right now a part of my left quad has that sharp pain that will turn into a month-long injury if I don’t rest it. My abs have something similar – you know how annoying it is when something interrupts a sneeze? Yeah, the muscle pain from the very act of sneezing interrupts my sneeze…

Written by Weefz

12 July, 2011 at 12:56 am

UFC PT Challenge Diary – Day 2

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So, despite my being in almost-crippling pain today, UFC personal trainer wants me to do bicycle crunches, leg lifts and v-ups…

Still working on the diet. I’ve run out of cardboard-flavoured soy protein mix so have resorted to stealing my boyfriend’s vanilla-flavoured whey protein instead. Horrible, horrible stuff. Here’s a useful link for anyone else working on strength or muscle mass: Build Muscle on a Budget.

Today I’ve managed to hit my protein target but undereat by 600 calories. I’m off to make myself a raspberry Eton Mess :) For those of you who like voyeurism through numbers, here’s the breakdown of what I ate today.

Written by Weefz

10 July, 2011 at 11:33 pm

UFC PT Challenge Diary – Day 1

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I am going to suffer a lot of pain in July.

I joined THQ and MCV’s Ultimate Fighting Championship Personal Trainer fitness challenge last week. Approximately 40 gamers have signed up, competing to win a trip to Vegas and £1000 spending money. THQ have kindly set up a Twitter list – ufcptchallenge – where we can watch the boys alternately smack-talking each other and moaning about their muscles.

I’ve also decided to dabble in video. Here’s a diary I made yesterday.

The numbers again:

Height: 168cm
Weight: 58.8kg
Body fat: 22.9%
Muscle mass: 36.3%

You’ve obviously noticed from the video that I’m disappointed with the accuracy of the game’s motion detection (2:30 if you couldn’t be bothered to watch me wittering at my webcam). It’s incredibly easy to rack up false information, rendering the entire stats tracking system useless. Still, the game is great for training inspiration. I’m doing the 30-day strength challenge to build up muscle mass and it’s started me off with a huge workout – 19 exercises, mostly focused on lower body. The only parts of me that don’t ache are my forearms and my calves. Wouldn’t surprise me if today’s workout finishes those off.

The flip side to gaining muscle mass is to improve your diet. Mine is appalling. Here’s what I ate yesterday.

My calorie breakdown, UFC PT challenge day 1

The amount of calories I need each day to just keep living is around the 1,400 mark. According to FitDay, my mostly-seated lifestyle means I should be eating around 2,300 calories to maintain my current weight. For a proper muscle-building routine, you want at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight which translates to at least 130 grams per day for me. Even with the biltong snack and protein shake, I only managed 111 grams yesterday.

It’s time to step up. MEEEAAAAAAT!

Written by Weefz

10 July, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Where My Accent Is From

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Handy reference for the most-asked question in my life.

http://vyou.com/embed/user/widget/response/uid/33139/nid/532701

Apologies to iPhone and iPad readers. The VYou site is entirely built in Flash with no other options.

Edit: Embed fail. WTF? No iframes on WordPress or something?

Written by Weefz

29 June, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Posted in misc

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Am I Destroying Games Journalism?

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I was propping up the bar tonight after a games event, as I am wont to do. Got chatting with a few freelance journalists in games and other industries when the conversation came around to how bloggers are now being invited to PR events, writing about games for free and thereby destroying the career option for freelancers.

I am paraphrasing, of course, but that’s the gist of it. So, always one to gather opinions from my personally-curated echo chamber, I put the question out to Twitter:

Quick question: Are blogs destroying games journalism?
@weefz

Perhaps I am naïve – I was honestly expecting this to float away into the ether like most of my off-the-cuff questions. It’s hardly an original debate but responses came back thick and fast from gamers, consultants, bloggers, freelancers and non-games copywriters. I got several flat-out “No”s and a few more nuanced opinions.

No. I’m a firm believer in the idea that the cream always rises. Bad games journalism is the only thing bad for games journalism. Everyone has the right to express their opinion, be it in blog form or otherwise. The good stuff gets spread by word of mouth… the bad stuff fades into the eternal din of the Internet. I can’t see any link to a degradation of games journalism. The notion that it does smacks of elitism if you ask me. Some of the most well rounded opinions come from amateur bloggers & podcasters IMHO :)
@TheSonicMole, 2, 3, 4

I’d say bad game sites are destroying games journalism, and bad game blogs are destroying good ones.
@NintendoTheory

There are too many of all of them. Neither are destroying each other, but the numbers of them might.
@angryjedi

You could ask the same of all sorts of journalism. Surely the two should exist side by side in holistic bliss.
@whatjosaid

Depends on the blog me thinks. One or two of the big ones have gotten awful of late but there are still some good ones.
@JosephBarron

I don’t think so, I usually read mainstream gaming sites first over blogs.
@Boogalord

Is FOX News destroying mainstream journalism?
@distraet

Blogs is a loose term. Major newspapers, magazines & corporations all have blogs. Quality ranges as wildly as their respective topic
@crazycraven

Only the bland ones rehashing press releases, but the same is true of the big sites
@MealtimeStrateG

They have been for years! Thankfully sites like AVGamer & various others are pushing on with a quality threshold. That’s all that’s been missing. A blog has no editor, no one to moderate, fact check or verify content for accuracy etc.
@origamikid, 2

All very interesting and valuable information. On the topic of blog vs mainstream, I think Jo’s and Si’s opinions (@whatjosaid and @TheSonicMole) are probably closest to mine – we can coexist perfectly well as entities and quality work will shine. That’s not quite what I meant though – the issue lies on the business side. Is the plethora of coverage garnered from unpaid games bloggers ruining careers for full-time freelancers and journalists by providing an alternative, potentially cheaper venue for PR teams to flog their wares?

I rephrased my question but here’s a bit of background info. I’ve been told that over the past few years, RyanAir has introduced a practice where new pilots have to do 500 hours of unpaid flight time for the company before they will be offered a permanent contract. This takes about 9 months of real time. At the end of that service, the pilot might be offered a permanent role, or s/he could be turfed out to make way for the next poor sap willing to work 9 months for free. Other airlines have seen this practice work and followed suit. Glad I never wanted to be a commercial pilot.

Question 2:

Different take: are blogs destroying games journalism as a viable career option, the way RyanAir has broken aviation? – @weefz

Here are some of the responses:

Blogs aren’t, crap games & over zealous PR firms/ marketing departments are.
@leongreen

They just need to buck their ideas up. Because there’ll always be someone on their tail. Just like any business…
@CamGuin

I have to say yes :). It’s sad really but when it is so easy to do as it is now it is inevitable that it would happen.
@Fusion_Gamer

Only for those who think ‘games journalism’ is rewriting press release emails and ‘sourcing’ news from other blogs. It’s a filter.
@MealtimeStrateG

No. Manipulative PR people strategically granting access only to outlets likely to praise their game, is ruining games journalism.
@chrisvandergaag

No. Games journalism only has itself to blame.
@mr_elmore

Lots of disdain for a certain type of PR attitude here, even as we all depend upon PRs for our content. And that’s the elephant in the room, isn’t it? As I understand it, most games websites depend upon advertising for revenue. Some also get money from syndicating their content to other media sites who, in turn, generate money from advertising. Who advertises on games websites? Games companies. Who provides the content? Games companies. Everybody knows this.

So ultimately, we’re either in the pay of games companies or we’re not being paid at all. Yes, some of us bloggers and independent sites are lucky enough to be invited to events. That’s content-side. It’s not the same as diverting revenue. Freelance journalists may be getting paid less than they were 5 years ago but that money certainly isn’t going to the bloggers. We write because we want to. We write because we don’t feel represented by the work published on established games websites. Hell, I started The Average Gamer in 2005 just to share my thoughts and only this year have started working with PRs and turning it into a profitable source of income.

Independent blogging isn’t destroying games journalism as a career. We’re just shifting the focus.

Is everyone being overly dramatic or are we all on the threshold of mutually assured destruction? I’d love to see your opinion in the comments section below..

Written by Weefz

23 May, 2011 at 11:57 pm

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Variable Boobs

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Made me laugh to realise that certain types of armour in Dragon Age 2 come with larger breasts.

Written by Weefz

13 March, 2011 at 9:31 am

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